Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The Cyber Scene in San Francisco ~ by Lorraine Sanders

The craigslist After Dark Party held on May 22, 2002 at San Francisco's DNA Lounge was indeed a physical manifestation of the craigslist community. Since its debut in 1995, craigslist has become a household name and valuable resource for Bay Area residents, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and local non-profit organizations. Just as the online community provides a forum for myriad organizations and individuals seeking exposure through non-traditional marketing and promotional initiatives, the craigslist party created a physical space for local arts and media non-profits to showcase their programs and answer questions. The diversity of craigslist users and participants was immediately apparent in the attendees. From partygoers cowboy hats to types to disco divas to granola-crunch environmentalists, the crowd represented a cross-section of the San Francisco community that only craigslist could assemble.

The event began at 7pm as much more of an exhibition than a club night. As the crowds steadily ambled into the newly renovated SoMa venue, the atmosphere and music became increasingly high-energy and festive. By the end of the evening, people were moving and dancing from the main floor on up the stairs to the back corners of the building. Event DJs were DJ Rueben (, Kevin (Bulletproof), and Toph 1 (redwine).

On the main floor, five local organizations spread flyers, pamphlets, and stickers on tables for the milling crowd to peruse. By just turning around in place, one could read-up on the effects of cannabis and ecstasy, purchase hemp wear, sign various petitions, enjoy a strong cocktail, and have an unobstructed view of the raised DJ platform. In attendance were representatives from the Bay Area Video Coalition, a noncommercial media arts center providing education and resources to the Bay Area community; Independent Art & Media, an organization supporting local artists with networking and production services; San Francisco Indymedia, the Bay Area branch of the global group dedicated to revealing truth through media outlets; Popular Noise Foundation, a collaborative supporting local music initiatives; and Share Project, a coalition dedicated to promoting safe rave and nightlife communities nationwide. In addition to these groups' materials, several local artists displayed their work along the lounge's walls.

A quick tour of the multi-level venue revealed rooms with music from house to popular, groovy tunes. Upstairs, attendees leaned lazily over the balcony railing, observing the crowd milling below. While some of them may have been waiting their turn at the popular chair massage station, the eclectic crowd below adorned in various funky incarnations of San Francisco style provided enough eye-catching entertainment to keep people stuck and staring. A back room upstairs provided a dark, somewhat suspicious looking chill-out area and comfortable seating.

The event, in its entirety, was a testament to the significant positive effect craigslist has had on the Bay Area community. In one venue, arts and media joined with technology to promote awareness and positive change through community action. The overwhelming turnout and show of support for participating organizations was an uplifting affirmation of a party's ability to carry a serious message. Thanks craigslist for a fabulous evening!